New research shows that European hedgehogs in Denmark carry a secret

phys.org | 1/28/2019 | Staff
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Most people consider the hedgehog a welcome guest in the garden. But a newly published study reveals that the Danish hedgehogs carry a secret. Through a research collaboration between Institute of Biology at University of Southern Denmark (SDU), Naturama and Statens Serum Institut, scientists have discovered that Danish hedgehogs carry mecC-MRSA in their snouts.

The results have been published in PLOS ONE.

Research - Part - PhD - Project - Danish

The research was part of a Ph.D. project called "The Danish Hedgehog Project" intending to describe the state of the Danish hedgehog population.

The project was based on citizen science, and former Ph.D. student, Dr. Sophie Lund Rasmussen, asked Danish citizens to collect dead hedgehogs for her research in order to use the dead to understand the living.

Volunteers - Hedgehogs - Denmark

During 2016, volunteers collected an astonishing 697 dead hedgehogs originating from all over Denmark.

Nasal swabs were obtained from 188 dead hedgehogs to determine the occurrence of MRSA.

Hedgehog - Rehabilitators - Transmission - MRSA - Hedgehogs

Additionally, 16 hedgehog rehabilitators were tested for potential zoonotic transmission of MRSA from hedgehogs to humans.

The results were surprising: close to two thirds (61%) of the hedgehogs carried the so-called mecC-MRSA. None of the hedgehog rehabilitators tested positive.

% - MRSA - Incidences - Patients - Denmark

"Only 1-2% of all the MRSA incidences found in human patients in Denmark are caused by mecC-MRSA. The transfer of infection to humans is likely induced by pets and production animals, which have been known to carry mecC-MRSA occasionally. mecC-MRSA is easily treated with alternative types of antibiotics and predominantly causes superficial skin infections like other types of Staphylococcus aureus," says Head of the National Reference Laboratory for Antimicrobial Resistance at Statens Serum Institut, Anders Rhod Larsen.

"The detection of mecC-MRSA in hedgehogs should therefore not change our...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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